This article has been updated to correct that a tweet previously reported to have been deleted still appears.
At its Tuesday morning meeting, the Lynnwood Public Facilities District (the District) board of directors unanimously approved a vote of no confidence in its newest board member, Vivian Dong. The vote followed a request that Dong resign, which she declined to do.
According to District Executive Director Janet Pope and Board Chair Mike Miller, Dong was asked to step down in response to her promotion of a June 17 anti-transgender protest that cost the District and nearby local businesses tens of thousands of dollars. Dong’s appointment to the board required her to sign a code of conduct stating she would act in the financial best interest of the District, which they allege she violated with her activities.
The District itself – which includes the Lynnwood Event Center — incurred approximately $10,000-$12,500 in lost revenues and costs for protest management while local businesses suffered approximately $35,000 in lost revenues as a result of the protest, officials said. Miller stated that some of the District’s local businesses – which pay rent to the District and are located in the 13-acre District footprint — don’t break even on their rent costs until the latter half of the month. The financial impact on the District’s business tenants was particularly harmful given the protest’s timing on a busy Saturday, he said.
Pope also said that Olympus Spa owner Sun Lee was misquoted in various publications and, in fact, did not want the protest to occur, since he had already decided to pursue the issue through the legal system. According to District representatives, even though Dong was made aware of Lee’s objection to the protest, she continued to make signage and promote the protest. Additionally, even though Dong was not a planner of the event, she was the only local figure who recruited attendees, since the majority of event speakers came from other areas, officials said.
Pope also emphasized the District’s stance as a community-focused apolitical organization and that Dong’s active political posting on social media channels like Twitter went against this image. Dong created the Safe Lynnwood organization to rally against the placement of a controversial methadone clinic in January and has gone on to use Safe Lynnwood’s Twitter account to post politically on topics that include transgender and race issues.
The Lynnwood City Council in April voted 4-3 to appoint Dong to the District board.
Miller said that by taking a no-confidence vote in Dong, members believe that she has been removed from the District board. However, the board has requested that the Lynnwood City Council take this up at a future meeting. Dong did not respond to request for comment, though she tweeted Tuesday that she was discriminated against and faced retaliation for exercising her First Amendment rights.
— By Jasmine Contreras-Lewis